Joseph Foster, a Special Olympics athlete from Mecklenburg County, loves basketball! He started competing in Special Olympics basketball five years ago after his mother, Gloria, saw a brochure in his backpack. “When I saw the brochure, I immediately went to sign him up, and we went to the first practice,” she says. When Joseph starting playing, he spent hours a day practicing outside. “He wouldn’t come in until the sun went down,” Gloria mentions.
He would also watch games of his favorite team, the Charlotte Hornets, and his favorite player, Jeremy Lin, and practice for hours and hours in order to emulate the moves and plays the NBA players did.
Joseph got the opportunity to meet and play with his favorite team when he participated in the Charlotte Hornets Basketball Clinic for Special Olympics North Carolina athletes on Feb. 2. Not only did the Hornets make an impression on Joseph, but Joseph made quite an impression on the Hornets players as well. Standing at 6-foot-5-inches, Joseph is an impressive basketball player, who can almost dunk. The Hornets players noticed Joseph’s skillful basketball performance, but they also noticed his very large feet. Joseph wears a size 19 shoes! The Hornets players also took note of his worn out sneakers.
At the end of the clinic, some of the players stopped Joseph and asked him to stay a few minutes later. They presented him with a complimentary pair of new Charlotte Hornets basketball high tops.
Joseph was ecstatic about this present. “My mom is never gonna believe this!” he enthused while excitedly lacing up his new shoes.
“It’s hard to find shoes for him because of his size,” Gloria commented on the experience, “I have to buy them at one store with limited options that Joseph doesn’t like. It was nice of the Hornets to give him a pair of basketball shoes. He loves them!”
With his new, professional-grade basketball shoes, Joseph will be even more of an unstoppable force on the basketball court.